A Beginners Guide to Different Types of Airsoft Guns

 

For those looking to get into the world of airsoft, we know it can be a little daunting. Much of the airsoft community is based around re-creating military-style gear and activities, and if this isn’t something you are used to it can be overwhelming. Luckily, the core of the airsoft community is still based around the airsoft guns themselves, and when you show some motivation to learn there will be no shortage of airsoft veterans looking to help you out.

The first step to participating in an airsoft game is to find an airsoft gun that fits you. Even if you aren't looking to compete you still want to make sure you buy an airsoft gun you are comfortable with and can have fun with.

In this article, we are first going to give you a quick overview of the game of airsoft, and then we will break down the types of guns you are likely to find in the stores and on the field.

Table of Contents

The Growing World of Airsoft

Since the ’70s, with the creation of BB guns that could fire softer BB’s while still maintaining accuracy, the sport of airsoft has slowly grown and expanded. Today there is a wide variety of contests that take place with huge mock military operations being the centerpiece of these larger gatherings. Many use the sport as a military simulation and the authenticity of the weapons they create and the gear they use is very similar to those employed by line units.

Airsoft guns will usually fire somewhere between 300fps-500fps though some very high-end models will go higher. Many competitions and playing locations will have rules regarding the max fps of a gun. Even so, some safety precautions are needed, such as safety glasses. A BB hit on bare skin is described as a strong runner band snap in terms of pain. Enough that you can feel it, but not enough to cause any real damage.

This is a fun and challenging activity that requires both teamwork and personal skill as well as patience and planning. It is not for everyone, some just want to shoot things, but there are very large leagues of very serious military simulators. Many of these groups will have events throughout the year.

Alternatively, there are national and regional competitions for airsoft target shooting. Technically, air guns are even an Olympic sport, but the ones used at that level of competition fire at a much higher fps than ‘play’ models.

 

A Gun to Match Your Play style

Some of you may simply want to target shoot; you will want a high FPS, perhaps lighter, airsoft rifle. The rest of you will want to compete with your gun. Before you purchase an air soft gun you should consider the role you want to play. Some guns work well for room clearers, like an airsoft smg, some are better for overwatch roles. Pick an air soft gun that will allow you to play the way you want and take the shots you plan to take.

The Popular Types of Airsoft Guns

Description: Colt M4 On Duty Spring Airsoft Rifle Kit, Black BUNDLE VIEW

Spring Powered Airsoft Guns

Spring-powered airsoft guns utilize a spring to propel the BB at the target. This means the gun must be cocked back in order to fire, usually by hand or in a bolt-action style format. These types of airsoft guns can both be useless in competition or highly sought after, depending on the specific gun. The desirability of a spring airsoft guns depends on the power of the spring and integrity of the rifling, which correlates with the range and accuracy of the airsoft gun.

These air soft guns are the most simple in operation and are also often the cheapest. They are great if you want to get something inexpensive to practice with and to do some simple target shooting with. Make this your beginner gun, get a nice accurate rifle, and practice. Get good at shooting and start to learn how to compete with others. When you get the hang of it and are ready for the next step, then invest in a different airsoft rifle. By that time you will be more experienced and have a better idea of what kind of air soft gun will suit your playstyle the best.

Pro:

     Lower cost.

     Reliable operation.

     It can make for high-end sniper-style airsoft rifles.

     It does not require electricity or gas.

     They are typically very quiet.

 

Con:

     Slow rates of fire.

     Typically suffers from cheaper housing.

     Need to recharge batteries

     Rainy weather can hurt or damage a gun.

Description: LCK47S Full Metal AK47 Airsoft Rifle w/ Real Wood Grips & Folding Stock - left side view

     Electric Airsoft Guns (AEGs)|

Electric airsoft guns are the most common type in use today. They require a battery but are capable of firing at an increased rate. Most electric airsoft rifles will come with selective-fire capabilities allowing you to easily go between automatic and semi-automatic fire.

The firing mechanisms also require, and the guns generally benefit from, a more expensive and robust outer housing. Electric airsoft guns are built tougher and more durable than the majority of the lower cost spring powered guns.

The effective firing modes, the rate of fire, and the durable construction make this both incredibly fun and useful for both competitions and personal enjoyment of airsoft rifles.

Something also growing in use are the Airsoft Automatic Electric Pistols (AEP). These are a very advanced system that gives great firepower in a small and easy-to-handle design.

The popularity of electric airsoft pistols and rifles has led to a huge diversity in the makes and models available. There are hundreds of variations and possibilities to choose from and it can be hard to give a general description since the options are so broad. Generally speaking, electric airsoft pistols and rifles are a bit more expensive and complicated to use than spring-powered guns but are typical of a higher quality. They are a solid mid-tier choice with some that are truly great.

Pro:

     Higher rates of fire.

     Very fun to play and compete with.

     A huge range of options.

Con:

     More complex construction, more things that can break.

     More expensive than some other options.

Description: KWA PTS Radian Model 1 Gas Blowback Airsoft Rifle, Black - left side view

Gas Powered Airsoft Guns

Gas-powered airsoft guns are powered by either HPA, CO2, or some type of gas (often red or green). While the propellant will depend on who is creating the airsoft gun, the general rule stands that gas-powered guns are the best on the market. Many of these airsoft guns can recreate the blowback feeling of a real weapon and that makes for a much more tangible and exciting experience. Even if they don’t simulate the blowback, gas-powered guns still fire at a much higher velocity (and are therefore more accurate at longer ranges) than other styles.

These are not beginner guns, they are heavier, more expensive and have multiple moving parts. But when you are ready for one, you will have a blast. Some very high-end airsoft guns of this type are also used for training operations by the police and military -that is how real they can be.

These airsoft guns are often formed out of steel and can also weigh the same as a real weapon. The weight in the hand and the blowback feature really add to the overall fun.

When you are ready for something that can emulate the real thing, or give you an advantage on the playing field, opt for gas-powered airsoft guns.

Pro:

     Great accuracy.

     Exceptional realism on some models.

     Very fun.

Con:

     More expensive.

     More complex.

     Requires fuel.

 

Note: many of the characteristics of gas-powered airsoft guns, like the weight and the noise, can both either be a ‘pro’ or a ‘con’ depending on your purposes.

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